MA Screenwriting

Why choose Herts?

  • Excellent employment opportunities: There are major skills shortages in the UK film industry with 30,000 new jobs are to be created in the next few years.
  • Teaching excellence: Howard Berry is a multi-award-winning lecturer and industry professional who has worked with Warner Brothers and the Stanley Kubrick Estate for over a decade as a consultant and expert.
  • Professional accreditation: Gain BAFTA albert sustainability – industry-standard certification.

Professional Accreditations

The programme includes BAFTA albert accreditation – an industry recognised certification which encourages the TV and film production industry to reduce waste and its carbon footprint. This is gained through a series of lectures and workshops on sustainability in production and associated project work. 

About the course

The MA Screenwriting postgraduate degree provides an exciting opportunity to learn screenwriting in a highly productive culture of filmmaking, in tandem with students learning to produce, directing and filmmaking craft techniques. The course has been designed to offer students opportunities to initiate, develop and realise original and advanced level work in screenwriting – including story development, characters, dialogue and narratives. The structure of the programme is designed so that production is informed b the ideas of the writer, and writing is informed by the practicalities of production and post. The programme aims to: 

  • Enable students to initiate, develop and realise distinctive and creative work in the fields of film production and post-production 
  • Gain detailed knowledge and understanding of key production processes and professional practices relevant to the film industry 
  • Understand the structure and operation of the film industry, its global scope, regulatory frameworks, business practices, markets, and audiences. 
  • Develop a range of transferable and entrepreneurial skills which equip students to respond to the and future career challenges 
  • Gain an understanding of sustainability within the film industry, the impact of production on climate, and the ways in which the industry can impact positively in this area, through a BAFTA albert accredited series of lectures and workshops. 

The MA Screenwriting postgraduate degree provides a practical and intensive study of screenwriting in an environment that encourages experimentation, professional development, and new ideas. The combination of creative, technical, practical and management skills – and shared tuition and collaboration with the Film Production pathway, in which filmmakers and screenwriters learn key skills – make this course unique.

Programme structure 

The structure of the programme is designed so that production is informed by the ideas of the writer, and writing is informed by the practicalities of production and post. Modules in film practice feature lectures and seminars on a range of concepts, practices, genres, and theories, which students discuss and develop in practice-based workshops in a range of settings, and with regular access to actors.  Students will create a portfolio of shorts, writing for the screen and see that work realised in the shoot and edit, as well as learn about the relationships between the script, the director, and actors, through weekly production and post-production activity.

Assessment 

The programme is modular in structure and delivery and assessment is 100% coursework. This will be a mix of presentations, written work as well as the submission of group work and practice-based work. 

Programme delivery 

The programme starts in September and is offered in full time (1 year) mode only leading to the award of a MA Screenwriting. The programme is run over two days a week - Tuesdays and Wednesdays for 6 hours each day. The course is divided into a mix of lectures, practice-based workshops, seminars, tutorials, and independent study. Some work is delivered remotely or in a hybrid fashion, to allow students flexibility in delivery and contact arrangements. 

Student support 

All students have a named Personal Tutor. We also provide English Language Writing support is available within the school. 

Why choose this course?

  • Excellent employment prospects: There are major skills shortages in the UK film industry. 30,000 new jobs are to be created in the next few years, with most areas of the industry reporting a 35% gap in skills in the workforce according to Screen Skills. Our students go on to work as runners in the assistant director department, professional screenwriters, post-production runners. 
  • Develop industry connections: Students will have opportunities to build links with industry professionals within the UK and international film and television industry. The University of Hertfordshire film programme and post-graduate school regularly host industry professionals who lecture and conduct workshops, seminars, and tutorials. We work closely with the industry to enable students to connect directly with their future employers and mentors.
  • Award winning student-work: The Academy of Arts and Motion Picture Sciences: Winner 2018 Student Academy Award - Best International Documentary. Our students are also winners of the prestigious Royal Television Society London Student Awards for Best Drama 2022 and Best Production Design Craft Award 2022. 
  • Teaching excellence: Howard Berry is a multi-award-winning lecturer and industry professional, having won Tutor of the Year 2011 (Vice-Chancellor's Awards) and Inspirational Lecturer of the Year 2018 (Student-Led Teaching Awards). He has worked with Warner Brothers and the Stanley Kubrick Estate for over a decade as a consultant and expert. His last film research project involved him interviewing Steven Spielberg, Simon Pegg, Walter Murch and Sir Roger Moore. He works regularly with Elstree Studios and has been an on-air film expert for BBC Three Counties Radio for ten years. 
  • Work with professional actors: Our Practice module features regular workshops which involve working directly with professional actors. The module also covers important industry changes in sustainability, through its accredited BAFTA albert training and certification. 
  • Work experience opportunities: Previous students have gained work placements with leading organisations and productions such as BBC EastEnders.  
  • Industry quality facilities and equipment: Students work with professional equipment, software and facilities and, as part of their master’s degree, write their major film script with an individually tailored marketing and post-sales strategy. Our Edit Share shared storage media asset management system workflow for post-production editing has been selected as a Finalist in the Broadcast Tech Innovations Awards 2021, for Best Innovation in Lockdown - the equivalent of a Technical BAFTA. The course also makes direct use of our own in-house oral history archive - The Elstree Project, which is a unique oral history of the film and television studios of Elstree and Borehamwood

What will I study?

Students develop a range of skills required to work professionally within film. Under tutor supervision, students are expected to work independently and to manage the challenge of their Major Project. In readiness for the Major Project, a module focusing on the pitching, development, and context of their chosen idea supports the preparation required at industry level to produce their intended outcome.  

Students also develop and learn skills in academic, project and industrial research methodologies – expanding their awareness of film styles, technology, finance, the marketplace, and audiences.  

  • Level 7
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Screenwriting and Film Production Techniques 60 Credits Compulsory
    Investigative Minds: Culture, Industry, Research 30 Credits Compulsory
    Finding the Story: Major Project Development and Planning 30 Credits Compulsory
    Major Project in Screenwriting 60 Credits Compulsory
  • Key staff

    Principal Lecturer Howard Berry

    Find out more about Principal Lecturer Howard Berry

    Further course information

    Course fact sheets
    MA Screenwriting Download
    Programme specifications
    MA Screenwriting Download
    Additional information

    Sandwich placement or study abroad year

    n/a

    Applications open to international and EU students

    Yes

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